This weekend, I saw the Singaporean film, “I Not Stupid 2.” As a sequal about Singaporean students, it is quite hilarious commentary on the Asian (well probably more specific to Singaporean Chinese) youth today. The film explores how adults (mainly parents) alienate their children in different ways by showing one family’s issues. On the heavy side, the older child, Tom, fights with a teacher, gets publically caned at school, joins a gang, shoplifts, gets extorted from, and mugs an elderly lady. On the slighly lighter side, Tom’s younger brother Jerry is fooled into thinking he got a girl pregnant by mischievious “friends” and steals money from a roadside stand to pay for tickets to his own school play in which he plays the lead. The moral of the story is abundantly clear (Singapore tends to impart moral wisdoms quite explicitly): parents are at fault for screwing up their children in one way or another so parents should be more supportive. Of course, this is an attack at the traditional Asian values of never reinforcing the positive aspects of a child’s actions and always focusing on the wrong or what needs to be improved.
Overall, the movie is a bit all over the place, going off a little too long on one character so that we forget about the others. The humor is quite funny (complete with poking fun at Singapore’s knack for adding “-la” to about every English word) but it sometimes comes into conflict with the more dramatic moments.